Thursday, June 26, 2008

Naked children? Not on the Cake!

Not often I agree with Esther Rantzen but her comments about over the top child protection decisions are amply illustrated by Asda's refusal to allow the photo of a baby's bottom on a birthday cake intended for the now grown-up owner of the derriere.

Rantzen's comments were made in response to a Civitas report, entitled Licensed to Hug, which highlights the fears felt by many who would have previously volunteered to work with children, but now feel put off by the attitude of some organisations and even wider society itself.

Of course, CRB checks are necessary, but, as Asda have shown, disproportionate responses have far-reaching consequences and run the risk of preventing children from forming the relationships with adult members of the wider community that are necessary for them to develop into responsible and mature people in their own right.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Don't worry - Gordon only wants to protect you

I've read this speech three times now and I still don't understand how giving the state carte blanch to hold detailed personal information should make me feel any safer from terror.

Apart from the difficulty of knowing exactly who will be able to access my DNA, biometrics, bank account, Tufty club membership, grandfathers' inside leg measurements etc, etc., there's still the problem of misuse.

After all, we're only just learning how many councils have misused the powers granted to them under the Regulation of Investigatory Procedures Act, which has seen local authorities "spying" on people applying for school places and filling their wheelie bins - all in total disregard of of Jack Straw's solemn assurance that there would be tight controls on those using it.

Now, some will say if you've nothing to fear... But that's not the point - neither is the threat we face: we were not consulted about this massive intrusion into our personal lives. It feels like were just sleepwalking into a total surveillance society.

Benjamin Franklin had it absolutely right, when he said:
"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety"